Seven years ago this morning I woke up in a bungalow on the tropical island of Anguilla. My mom was with me, as were the three stray beach dogs she happily invited into our room. I remember waking up with a sense of panic. Although we had a lengthy To Do list, I felt like I was dreaming. I was getting married!
After a quick breakfast, we headed to the spa for an afternoon of primping and relaxation. I had a massage on the terrace of the hotel, overlooking the crystal blue Caribbean Sea. As much as I tried to be in the moment and to absorb every detail, all I really remember was being scared.
My mom and I both got our nails manicured and our hair styled. (I learned that getting a manicure at the beach is a waste of money, the paint began to chip away before the ceremony!) My hair was styled in braids which was perfect for my tropical wedding. My mom, as usual, looked beautiful.
We had sandwiches and lemonade delivered to our room when we returned from the spa. I didn't calm down until my Dad showed up with bottles of champagne. Somehow he knew exactly what I needed!
Scott and I were married on the beach at sunset. With a steel drum band playing quietly in the background, our family dined on lobster and steak. It was a lovely evening. For many, it would have been a fantasy wedding.
Unfortunately, it was not my dream wedding. In retrospect, I think I opted for a destination wedding because of my amputation insecurities. I simply didn't feel comfortable or confident enough to walk down an aisle filled with people. Instead, I chose to avoid being seen and escaped to the Caribbean.
I felt overweight, ugly and deformed when I got married. I was just beginning to work through the body image issues that arose following my amputation. I was too ashamed to admit how I was feeling, so I smiled and pretended to enjoy the day.
My wedding pictures make me sad because I remember the pain that I was feeling. I was so insecure, so scared about living as an amputee. I have come a long way in seven years!
Now that I am more confident and secure, I wish that I could have a traditional wedding experience. Unlike seven years ago, I would now have no qualms about sauntering down the aisle with everybody's eyes fixed on me. I might even don a sexy wedding dress!
Getting remarried is high on my bucket list. Someday Scott and I will renew our vows, and I will feel like a confident and beautiful bride. Until then, I'll continue to watch "Say Yes to the Dress" and dream.
Happy Anniversary, Scott. I love you. We've been through hell and back and stand stronger than most realize.